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Winona campaign aims to slow coronavirus spread through new policy

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Lakeview Drive Inn employee wearing a mask

WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Winona is among the many parts of the country seeing an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

In response, a new initiative called 'Wear One for Winona' encourages residents to wear masks. However, not everyone is on board.

"No matter what, in the world you go out and have potential to get ill," said Logan Boyum, a Winona State University student. "Why is everyone afraid of this one?"

"It's hot and sticky out today whether you've got a mask on or not," said visitor Allie Wolf. "It's not too much of an issue for me at this point."

To combat the coronavirus spread, the city of Winona's community response team is pushing even harder for residents to wear masks with the new campaign.

"Anytime you're not able to social distance properly or are in a public place, you do need to have a mask on," said Mayor Mark F. Peterson.

Although Winona may be a college town where a majority of the population is in the low risk zone, some say wearing a mask is about more than protecting yourself.

"I have relatives who have health problems," Wolf said. "My son, when he gets sick, he gets really sick. I want to protect him."

Others believe it's an unnecessary precaution.

"I just think that it's overboard," said Boyum.

If you wear a mask, take a selfie and post using the hashtag 'Wear One for Winona.' Weekly winners get a gift card to their favorite Winona business.

"We want to reward those people who are doing the right thing and encourage those who aren't to do the right thing," said Peterson.

Yet you can still get in many places without a mask.

"Right now at Blooming Grounds, we don't require customers to wear masks because of our preventative measures," said manager Gabriela Seidel. "We make sure that we're wiping down each table but we're requiring our employees to wear masks 100 percent of the time."

"It's not like I would wear a mask but I wouldn't go up to them," explained Boyum. "I would try and respect their distance."

However, fines for noncompliance could be on the horizon.

"If we don't see the participation and we do see a spike, that could be a next step," said the mayor. "We're hoping we don't have to go there."

Winona County has seen a total of 119 cases and 15 deaths from COVID-19.

Alex Tejada

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